Female circumcision un-Islamic
Egypt's Muslim religious hierarchy issued a decree on the state MENA
news agency on Tuesday outlawing female circumcision as un-Islamic as
the authorities prepared to submit a total ban to parliament.
"The traditional form of excision is a practice totally banned by
Islam because of the compelling evidence of the extensive damage it
causes to women's bodies and minds," said the decree issued by the
office of the mufti, Sheikh Ali Gomaa.
The Egyptian government announced plans on Thursday to impose a
total ban on female circumcision, the widely-practised removal of the
clitoris, but the draft law still faces a tough debate in parliament
before it is passed.
Officially the practice, which affects both Muslim and Christian
women in Egypt and goes back to the time of the pharaohs, was banned in
1997 but doctors were allowed to operate "in exceptional cases".
Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali has no decided to ban every doctor
and member of the medical profession, in public or private
establishments, from carrying out a clitoridectomy, a ministry
spokesman told AFP on Thursday.
Any circumcision "will be viewed as a violation of the law and all
contraventions will be punished," said the official, adding that it was
a "permanent ban".
A government survey in 2000 said the practice was carried out on 97
percent of the country's women aged between 15 and 45 years of age.
In the latest fatality, 12-year-old Bedur Ahmed Shaker was taken by
her mother to a private clinic in Minya, a town on the Nile south of
Cairo, for the operation. She died before she could be transferred to
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